Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Behind the Wheel

My first car was quite possibly the finest piece of automotive technology to come out of Detroit since the AMC Pacer. Unfortunately, "The ultimate driving machine" was already taken or I'm sure it would have been Ford Motor Company's slogan for the 1972 Pinto.Yes this was the car I'd been dreaming of owning since my Hot Wheels and Matchbox days. From zero to sixty in two and a half days, this baby was built for the quarter mile.

The Pinto was to cars what spam is to gourmet cuisine. With its spacious and roomy interior you could easily fit two full sized Pygmies in the front and provided they were quadruple amputees there was room for two more in the back. This particular vehicle's best feature was not on the inside however, it was its paint job. Earl Shives would've been proud of the exquisite attention to detail shown when Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dumb broke out the ROLLER and PAINT BRUSH to give it its exterior beauty treatment. Ah what a site to behold it was, all covered in its dark blue crust. Talk about a chick magnet! Is it any wonder that I didn't have a lot of dates back then?

Alas it did have one redeeming quality...the stereo. It was bitchin', at least that the word I used to describe it back then. The hundred or so dollars I spent on this luxury easily doubled the value of the car. As the likes of Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Nazereth blasted through the speakers I could feel the testosterone surge through my body. I was invincible. I could beat anybody off the line now because I'm sitting behind the wheel of a ...oh crap, the songs over and I just realized I'm in a freaking Pinto. Arrrggggh!

Opening the hood could bring a man to tears and trust me I shed plenty of them while driving the original rolling turd. One night in particular I recall driving home when all of the sudden anything and everything that was electrical simply stopped working. No lights, no familiar sound when I tried to start it again and no stereo, (now this is serious). I'm no mechanic but I knew something was definitely awry when I got out and opened the hood. I was immediately greeted by the lovely aroma that you experience when standing too close to someone welding. That nasty cooked metal, burnt electrical, melted rubber stench that can only be topped by Petuly oil. After the smoke cleared I finally found the little gremlin (oops wrong car), as I was saying, I finally found the problem. There fused to the top of the radiator was my smoldering battery cable. Why you may ask was the cable routed in this matter? I simply say why not?

I honestly don't remember what ever became of that little blue bucket of bolts. I think maybe I drove it down to the 'wrong' side of town and left it running with the doors open while I went shopping. No that's not it. I recall that day now. When I came back outside it was still there with a note on it saying, "Please remove this thing, it's bringing down our property value."

It's funny, every once in a while I look in the paper at the classic car ads. It always the same, 56 Corvette, 65 Mustang, 34 Coupe...but not once have I seen a 72 Pinto.



Travis said...

Yeah! I had a '74! It came with an 8-track AM stereo...standard!

My friends thought a VW or a Camero was the $**t, but my Pinto rocked.

Desert Songbird said...

OMG - I had a Pinto! I think it was a '79, or maybe an '81. (I know, I know, you think I'd remember these things.)

It was white with blue interior, four speed manual transmission, AM/FM radio. Sadly, no bitchin' radio (had a Kragen cassette tape deck added later), but my boyfriend at the time drove the same model, same color Pinto with a KICK ASS stereo in it. I think we busted an eardrum or two listening to the likes of Black Sabbath.

Got pulled over by the cops in Indy one time coming out of a bar, had to stash the weed...oops...a whole 'nother story there!

katherine. said...

By the way…you know Mimi…Queen of the Meme…she of the Pencil Skirt and responsible for all of the Peace Globes and the Blog Blast for Peace? Tomorrow is her birthday.

Jeff B said...

Travis- An 8-track and AM..bwahaha

A 1984 Camaro was the first car I actually paid for. I was the cats meow.

Songbird- I think its one of those repressed memories.

Sounds like your Indy story might make for an interesting post?

Katherine- Thanks for the heads-up. I'll rember to do something for her.

Roger said...

I had 76 pinto station wagon back in high school believe it or not it was good for dates all that room in the back "woohoo" LOL! Thanks for bringing back good memories I am putting your link up Jeff.

Mimi Lenox said...

"little blue bucket of bolts" - GREAT description. I love alliteration. Don't know much about cars but your story was very nice. Memory lane and all that....

Come to think of it, this post has reminded me of the old Ford my first boyfriend drove. All I remember is that he drove VERY fast and the car was his pride and joy. More so than me.


Oh, I forgot. We later married(and divorced).
How could I forget THAT part?

Jules~ said...

Oh my goodness, I am laughing so hard. I too owned one of those fateful flint bumper cars. I purchased it in high school for $300 from a friend. Stupid sense or savvy. I whipped out my checkbook from my new account which I had opened with my frist paycheck....and bought a car. I bought it simply because knew I would need one ...someday.

I only drove it twice because it never ran right. My parents used it as a double trade in after I got married.

Odat said...

LOL My first car was a 69 Ford Fairlaine.....that I drove into the ground and subsequently right into the junk yard...but I just loved that car.....
Thanks for the memories.

Matt-Man said...

HA...Very Good. Well written and funny. Cheers Jeff!!

Mel said...

Brand spankin' new Ford Mustang--white! Pretty thing--went REAL fast and boy was it the envy of those around me.

One would think I was a spoilt child, huh? LOL
Yeah well....Totaled within the week.....
Pretty car go bye-bye....

Pinto mighta been a better choice?

Harrel Lamkin said...

The Pacer seemes to get picked on all of the time. Yet it stands above all the rest as the most unusual, unforgettable, innovative cheap car ever made. I had a 1974 Pinto Runabout once, a 4-speeder even, that would smoke a Vega, but I love the Pacer! Visit my daughter's Pacer site at

Jeff B said...

Roger- Sure you had the fancy-smancy wagon model.
Thanks for the link, back at ya

Mimi- If your boyfriend/husband valued his car more than you I think you're better off without him. and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Jules- $300 hehehe
Was that double trade part of your dowery? hehehe (again)

Odat- Hot chick in a muscle car, got to love that.

Matt- I'm affraid to ask what you first drove.

Mel- Awesome followed by Bummer!
and one week in a Mustang tops any amount of time in a Pinto.

Harrel- Looked at your site. A drag race Pacer. I always thought those sotries were urband legends. Too cool!

Latharia said...

After I finished having several flashbacks, I started laughing until I cried. :D Great memories!

Real Live Lesbian said...

"original rolling turd"

Great line...I'm still laughing!

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I had a red Ford Pinto. This post brought back a ton of memeories. Hey, it's all I could afford back then, but it sure wasn't much of a car. Thanks for my morning laugh. Have a great day. :)

kevin wecker said...

Luckily, I never owned a Pinto. My friend's mother had one - orange, to match the pretty drapes everyone seemed to have in our neighborhood way back in the seventies. I also remember cruising on Broadway, downtown Portland, and someone had spiffed up a '72 Pinto and placed, I kid you not, two large speakers one might find in the late seventies, in the hatchback part of the vehicle. And he played them loudly.

Yes, the '72 Pinto was, indeed, a car.

Leann said...

I had a little dotson my brother gave was white and very small and good on wasnt anything to look at.but then one day my brother want ed to do some thing for me.
I had found a set of steer horns at the dump.for some reason I had always wanted a set of them on the front of a car.but on a big car,not this little shoes of a car.
well my brother desided it was time to fullfill his sisters wish.
so he said "do ya mind if I fix your car for you?
now I love my brother but should have known to be careful when he asked to do some thing with my car.
well I desided to let him cause he had almost died a few months before that so I thought it would be good for him to have something to do.
so he went to work.and he made me promise not to look tell he was I did.
well about two hours or more later he came into get me.
well I darn near laughed my self silly.
here was this little car all decked out with this big set of steer horns and painted blue black and red dripping off the horns to the bumper.
now here I had to drive this thing totown every day to take my to daughters to school.well they were none to pleased.
but ya know I got to love that car.every day when I went to town a collage kid would walk right out in frount of me as if he was daring me to hit him.well that was before the horns were on there.
well i headed off to town.and as I came to the street where mr collage would walk out,there he was just waiting.well he took one look at the blood dripping off the horn,s and the big smile on my face and he just stood there and waited tell I drove by!!!!love them horn,s.
and one day I was drivg through town and saw two old guys who looked like they had both lost their last looked and got a load of me coming down the street and he nogged his friend and pointed at me and the car.the two of them cracked up and I hunked as I went by.they had smiles from ear to ear and waved.
I say if you are going to stick out do it to bless others,and you will never look like a fool.
God bless you and aint car,s with class a hoot?

Psycho Mom said...

Now that I've finally sopped up the last of my tears -- from laughing, not crying -- over this post, I can comment. Knowing the history of the dreaded Pinto and how much you hated that car made this even funnier to me than perhaps to most who read it. BUT, your dear little Grandmother didn't share your opinion. She was the only human on the face of this earth who loved that Pinto and I remember how she'd defend it as though it was her first-born child. Come to think of it, I do believe that's about the time her mind began to go . . . Extremely funny and well-written post, Jeff. Thanks for making me laugh 'till I cried and nearly had an accident right here in my computer chair, and thanks for bringing back some memories. I never really understood how miserable you were when we moved to Santa Rosa until you opted to move back to Southern California, driving the Pinto, rather than stay here and drive that nifty Chevy pickup truck we offered you as a bribe.

"The Babe"

Jeff B said...

Lataria- Always glad to provide some good memories and teehees.

Real L L- I'd love to take full credit for that line but I borrowed it from the movie "RV". It just seemed so approprate here.

Sandee- I'm amazed at how many of us suffered through the Pinto years.

Kevin- You lucky dog.

Leann- That was a great story. I hope you have a picture of that somewhere.

Mom- GG realy got her hackels up whenever someone would bad mouth that car. Definitely delusional

Oswegan said...

Love hurts.


Jeff B said...

Oswegan- Especially when you're with a wisky drinking woman.

Amazing Gracie said...

Oh boy! Did I ever get a big kick outta this one!
I had a '76 Pinto Wagon - the only plus was it was new and had a four speed tranny. Had it barely six weeks and some old lady blew through a traffic sign and almost t-boned me. I had four kids with me but no one had a scratch! Thank God...
The little wagon took me over the mountain to see my mom many times after my first husband passed away.
I bought a van when I remarried because we had six kids, altogether.
Little Pinto brings back good memories - it never let me down!
Thanks for the giggles!